My head is hurting, the senses nauseous and the tongue parched. It is still early in the morning. Both the kids are fast asleep. I don’t want to wake them, which I will, if I try to get up. The one day Lavinia doesn’t want to wake up early, I feel cheated. If it wasn’t for my pulsing head, I could have had a lie in. Must be my restlessness, Lakshmi wakes up and asks for some water. I switch the side table lamp on and pass her the glass of water. We go downstairs to get a cup of tea and paracetamol. The noise wakes Lavinia up.
I read about the psychology of bringing up kids. How to help manage their feelings and emotions. They talk about the higher brain, lower brain, right and left side, but mainly about identifying feelings, naming them and dealing with them. All easily said and done. When Lakshmi is getting frustrated with Lavinia, I ask her how she is feeling. Are you sad? are you angry? She totally ignores me. Probably not what the authors had in mind. I leave the psychology questions for another day and read extracts from Biden’s and Obama’s new books. Days in the lives of the POTUS and his VP. Biden’s account around the time of his son’s death along with the knowledge of his earlier life gives an idea of the multiple traumas he has endured and how he lived through them. A lesser man would have buckled but he has come out the other end as an empathetic and compassionate man who is probably what America needs right now. Obama comes across as a sensitive and highly intelligent person who went into the job for all the right reasons. The simplistic way in which he describes his tenure makes it an easy to read memoir. The sensitive family man emerges as he talks about his daughters and wife, how he helped coach his daughter’s basketball team and had to give up when the rival team’s parents complained. The serious side of him becomes apparent as he talks about the war and counterterrorism. In between the humorous side humanise the narratives. A compelling read and this was only an extract.
I come across a lot of new words. There is a word describing most things in life. If I say ‘thingy’ when I talk to the girls, they will stop what they are doing and say, “You mustn’t say thingy”, in chorus. “Very true”, I agree. I read that marcescence is a word for when trees, especially Oak and Beech trees, hang on to their dead foliage without letting them go till the new buds push them out in the Spring. I didn’t know about this phenomenon. There have been times when I have wondered what was preventing the leaves from falling. This is that time of the year, when the leaves on the tree equate to how long the garden needs clearing. The quicker they all fall, the faster I can forget about them. Another new word is the ‘Mast year’, a year in which the oak trees produce acorns in abundance. This year was one such year. They were everywhere, we stepped on them, crushing and splitting them, raked them up as quickly as they fell but they kept on falling. Natures way of propagating the species and assuring its survival.
Lakshmi has been inventing words. She tells us about ‘dolce’, it means the beauty of music she says. I think she is joking till I look it up and the Italian word actually means playing sweet music. She is learning Spanish and French at school and can count to ten in Spanish and sing French songs, but that’s it, where did she learn Italian words, I have no idea.